'Sprawling Wells' - report to council calls for planning shake-up

By Tim Lethaby

16th Jul 2021 | Local News

Sir Roger Scruton chaired a government commission in 2018 (Photo: Elekes Andor)
Sir Roger Scruton chaired a government commission in 2018 (Photo: Elekes Andor)

A report to a local council has said the government must act on its own planning review to stop the Wells area being blighted by "endless sprawls of identical houses".

Written by Cllr Pablo Foster of St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council, which serves villages around Wells, it praises the findings of the government commission chaired by Sir Roger Scruton in 2018.

"However, Sir Roger's plea for humanity and beauty to be restored to local planning arrangements went ignored," Cllr Foster said.

"We have instead a centralised system that gives developers free rein and turns local authorities into agencies securing building rights."

What he calls "central planning dictats" could require 3,000 new houses in Wells and the surrounding villages in the next five years.

St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council has led challenges to the building of housing estates on greenfield sites along Wookey Hole Road, Wells.

Members of the council are sympathetic to Cllr Foster's view so his report will be formally discussed at the next meeting.

The latest, to protect Armchair Field, opposite the current building sites, was backed by Mendip Council who refused planning consent, but that could be reversed on appeal to Whitehall.

The Scruton Commission did not oppose new housing estates but called for much better designs to suit local settings.

Cllr Foster said: "It castigated the ugliness and sterility of much modern architecture and the greed of developers."

Cllr Foster's full report is available on the parish council website. For further information, contact the parish clerk: [email protected]

St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council serves 11 villages around Wells and neighbouring hamlets. They are South, West and East Horrington, Dinder, Dulcote, Coxley, Polsham, Burcott, Wookey Hole, Easton and Green Ore, south west of the B3151.


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